Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 
Forums :: Blog World :: Michael Stuart: Moneypuck: Competing on a Budget
Author Message
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 12:49 AM ET
Michael Stuart: Moneypuck: Competing on a Budget
wreckage
Location: Fire Holland, AB
Joined: 07.29.2013

Sep 10 @ 3:16 AM ET
Canes are a bad example. They are currently over the cap. Yes last year they ran on the lower end, but then they had to resign all their talent from the rebuild and were willing to. Eugene is not willing to resign local talent if its a deep contract. He'd just rather continue to rebuild/tool and hope the team doesnt take a hit.
kaptaan
Vancouver Canucks
Location: shart on winsix, CA
Joined: 09.29.2010

Sep 10 @ 4:00 AM ET
Eugene is just biding his time looking for a way to leverage the senators into something that let's him make more money sooner some other way than the present course.
spatso
Ottawa Senators
Location: jensen beach, FL
Joined: 02.19.2007

Sep 10 @ 6:26 AM ET
Need to see some evidence of a correlation that can clearly establish an historical analytical foundation of past Stanley Cup or playoff winners.

I think there are some huge numbers that reflect on team performance. Shots on goal have been posted on the scoreboard since World War II. Goaltender save percentage has always been a strong favourite of scouts.

Robert McNamara implemented a strong performance measurement system to evaluate US troop performance in Viet Nam. Those old McNamara analytics, to this day, confirm that the US decisively won that war. As always, analytics mean nothing until you able to define what it is you are trying to measure.

I have no difficulty with using statistics to try and better understand and assess the performance of your product. But, I find it nonsensical when you use those same statistics to declare a profit when your balance sheet reflects a clear loss. It is certainly meaningful if your data measures progress and enables you to target areas for improvement.

I wish I could better understand the debate. Has any NHL team ever really succeeded on the back of analytics? Has there ever been a major trade or acquisition motivated by an analytic insight that offered a different understanding of player performance that was missed by veteran scouts.

I have no objection to anyone using statistical models to evaluate performance. I also like the use of video to study the on ice performance and habits of individual players. But, I am entirely fed up with the hockey McNamara's trying to convince me that somebody other than St. Louis owns the title of best NHL team for the 2018-19 season. Is it possible that someone has actually tried to use analytics to explain how St. Louis won the Stanley Cup? Perhaps the numbers will tell us that Jordan Binnington superlative goaltending was less important than we thought?
spatso
Ottawa Senators
Location: jensen beach, FL
Joined: 02.19.2007

Sep 10 @ 7:38 AM ET
Aging superstars (Tom Brady excepted) will inevitably become liabilities, their salary benefits exceed their performance capacity. This has become especially true for NHL teams operating under the hard cap formula.

Team success is possible by going very young and being entirely ruthless in contracting decisions. A player is a negotiable asset. It is not unrealistic to think a team can be enormously successful by willingly moving prime assets at a good exchange rate.

Age 28 is the magic number. A team like the Senators can win big if they refuse to sign any top role players to new contracts beyond the age of 28. Give a player like Chabot top dollar for his prime performance years and be prepared to trade him rather than try to sign him beyond his UFA status. The only exception would be for an elite franchise player (only one).

Veteran players can always be added on the lower end of the salary scale or when a team is gearing up for a serious playoff run.

I am a huge, huge fan of exactly what the Senators are doing right now. They are building a magnificent player and prospect base. They have committed to spend full to the CAP five years out. It is a winning formula.
Octavarium
New York Islanders
Joined: 01.03.2007

Sep 10 @ 7:42 AM ET
we'll have to actually hire an upper management/analytics team first...

pretty sure PD is having meetings with himself...and agreeing with his decisions.
leafsfann
Toronto Maple Leafs
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 05.11.2014

Sep 10 @ 7:51 AM ET
we'll have to actually hire an upper management/analytics team first...

pretty sure PD is having meetings with himself...and agreeing with his decisions.


Melnyk paying people to watch games and generate statistics? I see a $0.50 per hour raise for the stick boys.
spatso
Ottawa Senators
Location: jensen beach, FL
Joined: 02.19.2007

Sep 10 @ 8:32 AM ET
we'll have to actually hire an upper management/analytics team first...

pretty sure PD is having meetings with himself...and agreeing with his decisions.

- Octavarium


“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” (Albert Einstein). Performance measures must matter, that is, be used for driving behaviour. Unless you can demonstrate that hockey analytics have been used in a hard manner for decision making it is nothing more than entertainment for the people who talk about the data. This is fine and good sport. But let's not pretend it means anything other than to the amateur commentators and the teams that have decided to humour them.

Is there one GM or coach that has ever made a roster change or decision based on analytics?
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 9:04 AM ET
Canes are a bad example. They are currently over the cap. Yes last year they ran on the lower end, but then they had to resign all their talent from the rebuild and were willing to. Eugene is not willing to resign local talent if its a deep contract. He'd just rather continue to rebuild/tool and hope the team doesnt take a hit.
- wreckage


Marleau buyout is a decent chunk of that, which isn't really part of the on-ice product. And then there's the rumblings that they are going to be out from Faulk's contract here shortly, too.

Point being that they were able to be competitive with young players and the right, affordable pieces around them. See the end of the second paragraph after the tweet. What happens this season/after that remains to be seen.
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 9:07 AM ET
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” (Albert Einstein). Performance measures must matter, that is, be used for driving behaviour. Unless you can demonstrate that hockey analytics have been used in a hard manner for decision making it is nothing more than entertainment for the people who talk about the data. This is fine and good sport. But let's not pretend it means anything other than to the amateur commentators and the teams that have decided to humour them.

Is there one GM or coach that has ever made a roster change or decision based on analytics?

- spatso


Tulsky seems to be running the Canes these days, and I imagine that his perspective remains very much influenced by data.

Nobody suggests that it should be the only thing that you're looking at, but just that it should be heavily persuasive in every decision you make. Otherwise you end up like the Vancouver Canucks, signing Tyler Myers to a massive contract, while Jake Gardiner goes to the Canes for less than that. When you've got Jim Benning saying on the radio that the guy he disagrees with most "comes from the analytics side of things," that's a problem.
farooge
Nashville Predators
Location: Nashville, TN
Joined: 08.25.2006

Sep 10 @ 9:19 AM ET
maybe you should lookup the population of some of the smaller markets then xref those to capfriendly? also, remember when Nashville didn't "deserve" a team?
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 9:27 AM ET
maybe you should lookup the population of some of the smaller markets then xref those to capfriendly? also, remember when Nashville didn't "deserve" a team?
- farooge


I cheer for the Lightning...

Of course there are smaller market teams that spend. The Senators just aren't one of them.
spatso
Ottawa Senators
Location: jensen beach, FL
Joined: 02.19.2007

Sep 10 @ 10:22 AM ET
Tulsky seems to be running the Canes these days, and I imagine that his perspective remains very much influenced by data.

Nobody suggests that it should be the only thing that you're looking at, but just that it should be heavily persuasive in every decision you make. Otherwise you end up like the Vancouver Canucks, signing Tyler Myers to a massive contract, while Jake Gardiner goes to the Canes for less than that. When you've got Jim Benning saying on the radio that the guy he disagrees with most "comes from the analytics side of things," that's a problem.

- Michael_Stuart


I don't dispute the importance of data, especially as proxies for discussing performance related matters, including contract negotiations. Benning is not an exception. When you hear most GMs talking about hockey analytics they sound like George Bush explaining the Google Machine. Data can be used to confirm or dispute bias. But, there is nothing in analytics that predicts the transformative impact of a Jordan Binnington replacing Jake Allen. Retrospectively you can use data to demonstrate how Binnington's save percentage boot strapped the entire team to improved performance levels. There is nothing in the preexistant data, other than save percentage and Jake Allen's proclivity for giving up goals at critical moments, that even hints at the order of magnitude made possible by a mere change in goaltenders.

Tyler Myers and Jake Gardiner is a good discussion issue. Gardiner believes he was left on the shelf because teams fretted about his history with back injury. It seems like a no brainer that Gardiner was the better value in an off season acquisition.

I don't have an issue with data or analytics. I don't see how a team is able to negotiate contracts without maintaining a statistical base of performance. My issue is exclusively grounded in people's belief that it can be used to reliably predict performance outcomes over an extended period of time.

Patrice Bergeron is a statistical marvel. But do you really need statistics to know he is a good hockey player? Erik Karlsson has been limited by injury when he tries to turn into the player who is going wide on him. It will likely get worse, the numbers will follows rather than predict the performance. Bobby Ryan is no longer able to keep up. His game has declined in direct correlation to his skating. Back when the Sens signed him to a long term deal it was already apparent that his skating was beginning to fall off...even though it did not show up in the numbers.





Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 10:33 AM ET
I don't dispute the importance of data, especially as proxies for discussing performance related matters, including contract negotiations. Benning is not an exception. When you hear most GMs talking about hockey analytics they sound like George Bush explaining the Google Machine. Data can be used to confirm or dispute bias. But, there is nothing in analytics that predicts the transformative impact of a Jordan Binnington replacing Jake Allen. Retrospectively you can use data to demonstrate how Binnington's save percentage boot strapped the entire team to improved performance levels. There is nothing in the preexistant data, other than save percentage and Jake Allen's proclivity for giving up goals at critical moments, that even hints at the order of magnitude made possible by a mere change in goaltenders.

Tyler Myers and Jake Gardiner is a good discussion issue. Gardiner believes he was left on the shelf because teams fretted about his history with back injury. It seems like a no brainer that Gardiner was the better value in an off season acquisition.

I don't have an issue with data or analytics. I don't see how a team is able to negotiate contracts without maintaining a statistical base of performance. My issue is exclusively grounded in people's belief that it can be used to reliably predict performance outcomes over an extended period of time.

Patrice Bergeron is a statistical marvel. But do you really need statistics to know he is a good hockey player? Erik Karlsson has been limited by injury when he tries to turn into the player who is going wide on him. It will likely get worse, the numbers will follows rather than predict the performance. Bobby Ryan is no longer able to keep up. His game has declined in direct correlation to his skating. Back when the Sens signed him to a long term deal it was already apparent that his skating was beginning to fall off...even though it did not show up in the numbers.

- spatso


A couple points of discussion on the bolded comments:

1) Goalies are wild... agreed. The public data available for goalie evaluation is still in its early stages of development. Whether teams have better tools available at their disposal is unknown, but predicting goalies is really tough. No disagreement there.

2) On the second point, I'd argue that making predictions is exactly what data should be used for. If Player X shows very strong underlying numbers for the last three seasons, it reasons to suggest that he's going to be in line for a fourth good season. There are exceptions, sure, but as a general rule using data as a predictive tool is exactly in line with what it should be used for. It's no different than your comment on Patrice Bergeron - you are using the eye test on past performance to conclude that he's going to be a good player next season. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Data can just be used to help remove the lens of bias, or to confirm our assumptions - i.e. you watch Patrice Bergeron and conclude he's really good, and the data backs that up. That's great!
bikeguy99
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 09.05.2017

Sep 10 @ 11:02 AM ET
Michael Stuart: Moneypuck: Competing on a Budget
- Michael_Stuart


With Meyers making 6M AAV, Chiarot making 3.5M AAV........Don't ever bother out bidding these clubs for players. Take on bad contracts in exchange for picks. Take Staal and Smith from the Rangers in exchange for a 1st and 3rd or something like that.
Just stockpile picks and tank for 2 years. When you have cheap young talent, the UFA's will want to play in Ott and for less money.
ahjnkn
Ottawa Senators
Location: Ottawa, ON
Joined: 09.16.2008

Sep 10 @ 11:03 AM ET
A big part of the problem in this sphere is getting rid of the Good Ol' Boys culture that exists in many NHL head offices. Bringing in former players and people the GMs know well rather than those willing to take risks in terms of investment priorities.

Toronto is a good example of that, their fortunes improved dramatically the moment they took the restraints off Dubas and got rid of Brian Burke, Nonis et al and let people who actually knew what they were doing manage the team. This was encouraged by what they saw in results from the Raptors side of things, and Larry Tannenbaum could no longer ignore the obvious evidence staring him in the face.

The issue with many NHL teams, like the Sens (Melnyk has repeated constantly that he intends to pass ownership on to his kids once he dies...sigh...) is that they keep all the major back office management decisions and appointments within the family or direct peer network of the owner, allowing for a form of cognitive dissonance where no one ever challenges the management assumptions and a 'yes man' culture is developed where new approaches are frowned upon. Jeremy Jacobs signing ownership of the Bruins over to his kids is the latest example of this and it won't be the last.

The problem with that approach is that you have a bunch of trust fund babies who have never had to work that hard in their life, or pursue any rigourous discipline, getting teamed up with former NHL players. with limited education in statistics or math. in management roles. You are talking about people who did not earn their Ivy League degrees the hard way, they got in by having a relative being an alumnus and getting to the top of the triage list for students per year, and who were able to float by given the donations gifted to the schools by their parents. As we saw with George W Bush, that approach can have horrendous consequences when extended to jobs that actually matter in terms of decision making.

NHL head offices are the same. These trust fund babies are teamed up with former pro players, most with less than a high school education, and are often slow to absorb the significance of the analytics trends that are being flagged by their staff, who often can't communicate on the same level given the technical specialization of their field. Until we are able to get that cultural approach and mindset out of NHL head offices, there will continue to be laggards in this area in the foreseeable future.
BINGO!
Carolina Hurricanes
Location: I'll always remember the last words my grandfather ever told me. He said, "A Truck!", SK
Joined: 09.21.2009

Sep 10 @ 11:07 AM ET
Tulsky seems to be running the Canes these days, and I imagine that his perspective remains very much influenced by data.

Nobody suggests that it should be the only thing that you're looking at, but just that it should be heavily persuasive in every decision you make. Otherwise you end up like the Vancouver Canucks, signing Tyler Myers to a massive contract, while Jake Gardiner goes to the Canes for less than that. When you've got Jim Benning saying on the radio that the guy he disagrees with most "comes from the analytics side of things," that's a problem.


This is correct. Everything goes through Tulsky and Dundon.

The general consensus is that Waddell is a figurehead on the hockey side of things, primarily just running the business side and making the actual phone calls themselves, while Tulsky et al. pick the targets and actively run the hockey wide.
spatso
Ottawa Senators
Location: jensen beach, FL
Joined: 02.19.2007

Sep 10 @ 3:10 PM ET
A couple points of discussion on the bolded comments:

1) Goalies are wild... agreed. The public data available for goalie evaluation is still in its early stages of development. Whether teams have better tools available at their disposal is unknown, but predicting goalies is really tough. No disagreement there.

2) On the second point, I'd argue that making predictions is exactly what data should be used for. If Player X shows very strong underlying numbers for the last three seasons, it reasons to suggest that he's going to be in line for a fourth good season. There are exceptions, sure, but as a general rule using data as a predictive tool is exactly in line with what it should be used for. It's no different than your comment on Patrice Bergeron - you are using the eye test on past performance to conclude that he's going to be a good player next season. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Data can just be used to help remove the lens of bias, or to confirm our assumptions - i.e. you watch Patrice Bergeron and conclude he's really good, and the data backs that up. That's great!

- Michael_Stuart


Cannot disagree with your primary point.

If analytics are used to illustrate the depth Patrice Bergeron's game, it is good.

But, once forwards hit age 27/28 all statistical measures curve downward. Analytics cannot measure the subjective.

Analytics cannot message Jake Gardiner's bad back or predict the deterioration of the offensive capability of skaters that are inadequate technical skaters (Bobby Ryan, Dany Heatley).
matty12345
Buffalo Sabres
Joined: 01.11.2007

Sep 10 @ 4:53 PM ET
Interesting read.

I think people wildly misunderstand the use of analytics in gaining an advantage. In the classic moneyball example, The A's were the first team to realize that On Base Percentage was a more important stat than Batting Average, among other things. Batting average was used for a hundred years, and it's still the more prevalent stat, but the A's essentially threw it out the window and and said, "you score by getting base runners and then driving them in. That's OBP and slugging, to hell with batting average and RBI's and other useful but less useful stats. Watch a baseball game today, and the game has become a different sport. Launch angle and the shift and a ton of other things are all reactions to the way players are evaluated having changed, thanks to moneyball.

In hockey, the post lockout Sabres were predicted to be the worst team in the league, and ended up in the conference finals two years in a row. Why? The team decided that speed was more important than toughness, size, and the traits that dominated the previous era of hockey. They predicted where the sport went before it went there, and they managed to be one of the elite teams in the league with a 28 million dollar pay roll.

How does this translate to a team wanting to compete using analytics instead of cash? You have to go all in. Everyone has a stat guy. You have to be so entirely committed to stats that it makes the decisions for you.

Let's say puck possession is the most important stat, well then you have to trade 'good' players who don't have great advanced stats. You have to trade for outliers, guys who are stats darlings but don't put up points or get much notice. You draft and scout based on data and not by sending old men to watch games. And you have to trade popular players who don't fit the organizational philosophy.

Bottom line, if you hire an analytics guy, big deal. Everyone uses stats. The way to get a competitive advantage with stats is to thoroughly commit to them, while everyone else is at best respecting them.
AlfieisKing
Ottawa Senators
Location: Canada, ON
Joined: 11.05.2007

Sep 10 @ 5:23 PM ET
My lines for Game 1 of 82

Tkachuk - White - Ryan
Duclair - Tierney - C.Brown
Formenton - Anismov - Batherson
Ennis - Pageau - Boedker/Veronneau

Chabot - Zaitsev
Hainsey - Demelo
Borowiecki - Brannstrom

Anderson
Nilsson


*Logan Brown & Josh Norris should get a look soon.
*eventually send down Brannstrm unless he blows socks off, and have Jaros & Wolanin rotate

Thoughts?
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 6:05 PM ET
Interesting read.

I think people wildly misunderstand the use of analytics in gaining an advantage. In the classic moneyball example, The A's were the first team to realize that On Base Percentage was a more important stat than Batting Average, among other things. Batting average was used for a hundred years, and it's still the more prevalent stat, but the A's essentially threw it out the window and and said, "you score by getting base runners and then driving them in. That's OBP and slugging, to hell with batting average and RBI's and other useful but less useful stats. Watch a baseball game today, and the game has become a different sport. Launch angle and the shift and a ton of other things are all reactions to the way players are evaluated having changed, thanks to moneyball.

In hockey, the post lockout Sabres were predicted to be the worst team in the league, and ended up in the conference finals two years in a row. Why? The team decided that speed was more important than toughness, size, and the traits that dominated the previous era of hockey. They predicted where the sport went before it went there, and they managed to be one of the elite teams in the league with a 28 million dollar pay roll.

How does this translate to a team wanting to compete using analytics instead of cash? You have to go all in. Everyone has a stat guy. You have to be so entirely committed to stats that it makes the decisions for you.

Let's say puck possession is the most important stat, well then you have to trade 'good' players who don't have great advanced stats. You have to trade for outliers, guys who are stats darlings but don't put up points or get much notice. You draft and scout based on data and not by sending old men to watch games. And you have to trade popular players who don't fit the organizational philosophy.

Bottom line, if you hire an analytics guy, big deal. Everyone uses stats. The way to get a competitive advantage with stats is to thoroughly commit to them, while everyone else is at best respecting them.

- matty12345


*applause*
Byfuglien Ate Me
Toronto Maple Leafs
Location: The Joe Pisarcik Theorem , ON
Joined: 09.24.2010

Sep 10 @ 6:22 PM ET


STU! Great to see you back.

You turds have a real good writer here.
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators
Location: "Caresi > Corsi"
Joined: 10.24.2011

Sep 10 @ 7:14 PM ET
STU! Great to see you back.

You turds have a real good writer here.

- Byfuglien Ate Me


Thanks!! Much appreciated.
sensarmy_11
Location: NS
Joined: 06.01.2009

Sep 10 @ 7:16 PM ET
My lines for Game 1 of 82

Tkachuk - White - Ryan
Duclair - Tierney - C.Brown
Formenton - Anismov - Batherson
Ennis - Pageau - Boedker/Veronneau

Chabot - Zaitsev
Hainsey - Demelo
Borowiecki - Brannstrom

Anderson
Nilsson


*Logan Brown & Josh Norris should get a look soon.
*eventually send down Brannstrm unless he blows socks off, and have Jaros & Wolanin rotate

Thoughts?

- AlfieisKing


not bad

i think Batherson will be higher in the lineup. personally, i'd swap Bath and Ryan

i also think there is almost zero chance that bransstrom makes the team over wolanin and jaros.....that kid will make the NHL when there's a top 4 spot available to him (so next year when Hainsey is gone)
AlfieisKing
Ottawa Senators
Location: Canada, ON
Joined: 11.05.2007

Sep 10 @ 7:40 PM ET
not bad

i think Batherson will be higher in the lineup. personally, i'd swap Bath and Ryan

i also think there is almost zero chance that bransstrom makes the team over wolanin and jaros.....that kid will make the NHL when there's a top 4 spot available to him (so next year when Hainsey is gone)

- sensarmy_11

I hear you, probably happening later on.... as much as Bobby Ryan takes heat, he still plays hard under new coaches and he's a vet. But I agree Batherson should be higher than him soon (if he continues his growth)

FORGOT ABARMOV! or whatever his spelling is, he's looking amazing right now. I could see him as a 20g guy easy if he stays healthy and finds his stride
Page: 1, 2  Next